Dry eye is a condition caused by changes in the quantity or quality of your tears. Tears are composed of three main layers that work together to keep your eyes comfortable and protected. If these layers become imbalanced, your tears will evaporate too quickly, causing your eyes to feel dry and irritated. Another cause of dry eye is inadequate tear production. In most cases dry eye only causes discomfort without other side effects, however, in severe cases, it can increase the risk of infection that can lead to cornea damage. The physicians at Columbia Eye Clinic can perform tests to identify chronic dry eye during a routine eye exam.
Symptoms of dry eye include:
- Eye inflammation
- Eye irritation
- Scratchy eyes
- Burning or stinging eyes
- Gritty eyes
- Tired eyes
- Fluctuating or blurry vision
- Excessive tearing
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye conditions with increased prevalence among contact lens wearers, computer users, previous eye surgery patients and those older than 55. Other diseases and conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, as well as common medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can cause dry eye by reducing tear secretion, so be sure to discuss your medical history with your ophthalmologist.
Treatment and Prevention
Use of artificial tears and minor behavioral modifications may reduce dry eye symptoms. Some dry eye sufferers require prescription medication and/or minor procedures to decrease eye inflammation and irritation.
If your dry eye symptoms are a result of meibomian glad dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend gentle non-invasive treatment with the Systane® iLux2® MGD Thermal Pulsation device. The treatment delivers gentle warming and pressure directly to your eyelids to unblock meibomian glands, restoring healthy tear film and helping relieve your dry eye symptoms.
BlephEx® is a quick, painless, in-office procedure that uses a rotating, soft, medical grade, micro-sponge to clean and exfoliate the edge of your eyelids and lashes. The procedure removes excess bacteria, biofilm and bacterial toxins, the main causes of eyelid symptoms. A numbing drop is usually placed in the eye prior to treatment for increased comfort and patients report no more than a tickling sensation. After the procedure, patients may immediately resume normal activities. BlephEx® may be repeated periodically as determined by your physician to manage eyelid inflammation that can damage tear glands and lead to chronic dry eye syndrome.
Schedule an appointment
Contact us at (803) 779-3070 to schedule an appointment for a dry eye evaluation as part of a comprehensive eye exam with one of our American Board of Ophthalmology certified physicians at any of our three conveniently located clinics.